The Land beyond the forest: source material for Dracula
Emily Gerard was from a wealthy family, and spent many years in various parts of central Europe with her husband, an officer in the Austrian Army. She wrote fiction and travel books, collaborating on occasions with her sister Dorothea.
How does this book portray Transylvania?
During the years 1883-85, while her husband was posted in Transylvania, Gerard researched and wrote about the social history of the area. Her article ‘Transylvanian superstitions’ included material on the vampire myth, and was used by Bram Stoker while he was researching for his book Dracula (1897); here also he came across the term ‘nosferatu’.
Her book on the region, The Land beyond the Forest: Facts, Figures and Fancies from Transylvania (1888), was more than a collection of folkloric anecdotes; as well as providing for the English-reading public a survey of the customs and traditions of what was then an exotic location, she described the political situation and suggested that these areas had a role in the wider sphere of European politics.
- Article by:
- Greg Buzwell
- The Gothic, Fin de siècle
The vampire is a complicated creature: caught between life and death, at once alluring and horrifying. Greg Buzwell considers the way the novel reflects the fears that haunted late 19th-century society – fears of immigration, sexual promiscuity and moral degeneration.
- Article by:
- John Bowen
- The Gothic, The novel 1780-1832
What does it mean to say a text is Gothic? Professor John Bowen considers some of the best-known Gothic novels of the late 18th and 19th centuries, exploring the features they have in common, including marginal places, transitional time periods and the use of fear and manipulation.